Michael Hawkes insists lightly raced star Brutal (NZ) (O’Reilly) is
yet to realise his potential and can soar higher in the $7.5 million Golden
The Hawkes Racing team turned down a slot in the $14 million Everest in
favour of keeping the Doncaster Mile winner fresh for Saturday’s inaugural
Rosehill showpiece over 1500m.
Brutal will not have many more chances to prove himself, with next autumn
shaping as his last hurrah after breeder Newgate Farm claimed a stake in the
Hawkes, who trains in partnership with father John and brother Wayne,
believes he can hit another level before standing at stud.
“I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him,” Hawkes said.
“When he won the Doncaster as a three-year-old, it was only his seventh
“Racing him on as a four-year-old was the best thing for the horse.
“I think sometimes we do go to stud too early.”
Hawkes has had Saturday’s date circled for months as the culmination of a
five-week campaign, following a barrier trial and lead-up runs in the Group Two
Premiere Stakes and Group Three Sydney Stakes
“We always planned to have three runs coming into this race,” he
“It just ticks all our boxes and obviously this is his grand final.
This is what we’ve set him for all along.”
Brutal’s wide draw (17) sent punters running, with the horse drifting to
$5.50 on Friday as the market migrated to Chris Waller-trained rivals Arcadia
Queen ($3.20) and Kolding ($5) who slot into gates five and four respectively.
But having jumped from barrier 18 to win the Doncaster, Hawkes was
optimistic jockey Tommy Berry could re-enact Glen Boss’ heroics and possibly
track neighbouring Sunlight out of the gates and made light of the situation.
“History states no horse has won from inside barrier 17,” he said.
“History’s meant to be broken.
“Tommy knows the horse. He knows what he’s got underneath him.
Hopefully he can get him in a nice spot.
“We’re going in confident. We can only rely on Tommy to get the job
Should they fall short, the $1 million Redzel Stakes could be a reasonable
consolidation prize for the Hawkes stable as $26 chance Kapajack takes on
Everest runners Pierata ($2.80) and Trekking ($4.20).
“He’s not weighted to his best in Saturday’s race,” Hawkes said.
“When we looked at this race, the bonuses probably weren’t on offer to
the Everest and the Sydney Stakes.
“That’s lured horses into these races.”
The winner of the Redzel Stakes collects an extra $750,000 if he or she also
ran in The Everest.